Turkish military plane evacuates Somalia bomb victims
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A Turkish military plane landed in the Somali capital on Tuesday to evacuate people badly wounded in a truck bombing that killed 4 and wounded 11 near Mogadishu last Saturday, Garowe Online reports.
“The Air Force aircraft carrying our Turkish citizens and Somali brothers wounded in the terror attack in Somali has departed from Mogadishu for Ankara,” said Turkey’s Ministry of National Defence in a Twitter post.
The aircraft brought a medical team and equipment to help treat the people injured in the blast, which happened when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated at a busy checkpoint at the Bood Boodka area outside Afgoye town.
Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu said 9 people including six Somalis and three Turkish engineers who were injured in the Al-Shabaab bomb blast last week have been airlifted to Turkey on Tuesday morning for proper treatment.
The bombing was the 1st vehicle-borne explosives attack of 2020 in Somalia and last year ended with more than 20 car bombings and US airstrikes that caused many civilian deaths compared to 2018.
Muslim majority Turkey certainly seems to have hit a nerve when it comes to Al-Shabaab.
Following a car bombing by the group that targeted a Turkish convoy in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed two Turkish construction engineers, Al-Shabaab's spokesman Ali Dheere named Turkey one of the group's targets.
Turkey-Somalia ties were given a fresh push in 2011 when President Erdogan visited Mogadishu with his family and cabinet ministers when he was still prime minister after Somalia has been hit by a famine.
It was the first such visit by a non-African leader in two decades.
No doubt Turkey has helped alleviate some of Somalia's troubles with aid; it gave over a billion dollars of humanitarian aid in 2012 alone and has established a military base in Mogadishu to train the Somali army in 2017.
Over 10,000 Somali soldiers are expected to be trained at the Camp TURKSOM, according to Turkish military officials. It can train and house approximately 1,000 soldiers at a time.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Somalia invited Turkey to explore for oil in its waters, private national broadcaster NTV reported.